I’m a Sucker for Reading Challenges

Last year,Last year what I thought was a completely do-able reading challenge with one book a month, each month outside my normal mono-focus on the mystery genre.  I actually got going in January by reading a book made into a movie, The Giver, which I liked.  I noted it on goodreads.com Then I lost the will to persevere.  I did read a lot, a whole lot, of books but they were either in my favorite category or something that captured my fancy.  In this respect, it was a great year.  I refuse to feel like a failure, after all, I am reading and enjoying stories.

This year, 2017, I found several reading challenges that sound do-able.  The first one I’m going to write about is run by Becky from Becky’s Book Reviews and is called the Share-a-Tea Reading challenge.     The rules are few and simple:  drink tea, read books, and share.  No minimums or standards to achieve.  I think I’ve already achieved two of the three.

shareatea

I’ve already read three books, although the first one was started at the end of 2016.  They are:

  • Brownies and Broomsticks by Bailey Cates, a really cute cozy mystery about a young woman, a baker, who moves to Georgia to help her aunt and uncle run their bakery.  This first in a series tells us of her discoveries:  she’s from a long line of hereditary hedge witches; and there’s a dead body.
  • I also read The Taking of Libbie, SD by David Handler.  The next in a series about a former cop who is now a millionaire.  He is kidnapped by bounty hunters due to a mistaken identity.  Once the identity problem is resolved, he investigates.  I adore this series.
  • And then I read the marvelous The Great Reckoning by Louise Penny, one of my favorite authors.  She writes so lyrically about the human condition and the effects of history, corruption, art, literature on people’s thoughts, actions, and their souls.

And the teas I drank, to name a few, since I drink tea all day long!  My fitness program incorporates at least a gallon of liquid a day, which for me is mostly tea.I was on vacation…

  • Mate Chai by Citizen Tea
  • Double Chocolate Mate by The Republic of Tea
  • Matevana by Teavana, which they don’t make any more, to my great sorrow.  Fortunately I discovered Citizen Tea!
  • and probably others, I can’t think of.  I drink iced tea most of the day, though it’s just decaffeinated made from a mix (see I didn’t even apologize for that incredible gaffe in front of aficionados).   As always, I bravely live my life out-loud whether I intend to or not.

May your day and days be filled with refreshing beverages of all types and stories that delight you!

 

2016 Reading Challenge

I hesitated very long at 2016 about New Year’s Resolutions.  I’m not really anti-resolutions but I’m rather tired of letting myself down even with reading.  I did find one that looks absolutely do-able.  So I copied the challenge and then promptly forgot about it.  I found it again while looking through my files.  There was less than a week left in January.  Still do-able.  Eureka.  I’m going to give this a try.  I’ve already read the January book and I will post a review of it tomorrow.  And guess what?  If I don’t make it through the year, I will forgive myself.

I did also say that I would read 50 books for the Goodreads Reading Challenge.  

2016 Reading Challenge

Reading Challenges: The Joys and the Sorrows

My last post was a year ago and it was a happy post talking about my commitment to a 2015 Reading Challenge.  There were 26 different things to read and many outside my normal reading pattern.  I was also part of the Goodreads reading challenge where you state how many books you wish to read.  I low-balled my number so I wouldn’t let myself down.  Because

I really blew off the 2015 Reading Challenge I posted.  Part way through the first few months of 2015, I decided that I wanted to stay within my reading comfort zone.  I really did not want my reading material to be challenging.  Reading is a comfort and a joy for me.  Sometimes it’s an escape.  For me, 2015 was not such a bad year but there were challenges, some of them extreme especially for the loved ones around me.

What I did do is blow through my Goodreads challenge and read 300% over my low-balled figure.  I listen to audio books while I drive, while I do housework, while I quilt, and while I sit around and vegetate.  I read the printed word, both ebooks and physical books, as well.  I do believe that the audio books probably outnumbered the print books.  Score for quantity and quality.

I have found a 2016 Reading Challenge I like.  I may give it a try.  It’s one book a month and I managed to squeak January in under the wire.

Libraries are Nice Quiet Places

libraries are nice quiet places It is the first day of spring break and I am staffing the reference desk this afternoon.  It is believable, today, that libraries are nice quiet places.  All I see is chairs, desks, and cubicles waiting for students to park their bottoms in order to study alone or study together.  All I hear is the annoying hum of the printing station  and people walking through to their offices.  It would be easy to jump to the conclusion that the 21st century academic library is still a nice quiet place with librarians on hand, just waiting to shush help you!

That is far from the case here most days.  There is a tumult of activity for the students, faculty, and community using the library and for the staff.  In our library, we have other campus offices, a very busy and wonderful cafe,  computer labs, multimedia labs and a merged technology help center and library circulation desk.  The first place anyone goes for help on campus is the library — in the ideal — as evidenced by the noise, traffic, and activity.  People come to us angry, lost, fearful, happy, exuberant, and full of trepidation.  They may be studying together or seeking a quiet place.  They may need something or just want to be alone.  We try to provide it all.

The assumption and stereotype remain that libraries are bastions of scholarly quiet and intensity.  They are but libraries are also more.  In particular, public libraries most often experience, first-hand, the charms and ills of a free society.  Libraries with their warmth, openness, and free access to information and computers attract people seeking a place to sit, sleep, and learn.  Often times, people will leave their responsibilities in the library.  From babysitting their children to guardians looking for a place to put a special needs adult, librarians are often surprised (unpleasantly) by the things/people left in the library.  Libraries are not exempt from the ills of our society, though in our imagination we would like to dream of them of a place of soulful retreat.  Academic libraries tend to be more insulated that public libraries but in my experiences we’ve had more than our fair share of dealing with crime, criminals, the mentally ill, the scary, the quirky, and the weird.  Sometimes it’s a fraternity bet (“Go pee in a library trashcan) to a transgendered person denied her right to use the lady’s room.

There is some dissonance, this difference between our romantic dreams and the varying reality of libraries.  As an insider, it is both fun and irritating to encounter the stereotypes and assumptions about my work and my profession.  By the same token, it is a great profession with where change is embraced and the past is preserved.  If you think you are confused, those of us in libraries are also confused.

Where did the picture come from?  I am not sure.  I’ve had it since the 1980s when my job was to go through old magazines and newspapers for the ephemeral file.  It’s the cover of a magazine, I think The Atlantic Monthly.  I couldn’t find a citation or reference to it after a rather cursory google search.  I thought at the time (and still do) it was a perfect picture to convey the difference between expectation and reality of day to day working and living la vida library!